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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — From light to dark, day to night, known to unknown, artist Gayle Curry didn’t experience real fear until her parents, first her father, then her mother, each received cancer diagnoses.

A questioner remarks, “There might not be another, single word in the English language that, if someone mentions that, it just changes your life.”

“It does,” replies Curry, “and you don’t understand that until it happens to you.”

Her father died within a year from pancreatic cancer.

Her mother is still fighting.

“I think the will to live is huge,” she says.

But it was Gayle’s response to this scary news than proved most interesting.

Doing research on her parents’ conditions, she became fascinated with the color slides of cancer cells, their many variations, and their terrifying beauty.

Curry says, “It’s very much a paradox.”

She compiled dozens of these slides and then started working in encaustic wax, dripping colors on canvas, studying her fears on an abstract level.

Gayle explains, “For me, to be able to paint these invaders helped me process it and deal with it in a way that’s kind of healing.”

Curry painted her mother’s leukemia first, cancer cells destroying red blood cells.

She dealt with the pancreatic cancer that took her father, and the colon cancer that took a cousin her same age.

Of her work, Gayle explains, “They all have a different texture and feel to them.”

Curry took some liberties with color just as lab technicians do to best illustrate real cancer cells.

Her show, called ‘UnKnown Origins’, plunges the viewer into one of our worst fears and manages to come out the other side with the kind of hope only something beautiful can provide.

“Sometimes things can be ugly and beautiful at the same time.”

Gayle Curry’s show, ‘Unknown Origins’ is on display from October 4, 2018 to February 9, 2019 at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and Gaylord Pickens Museum.

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